My first language is French, and there's something I'd like to know how to translate in English. The verb "se débrouiller" seems to hard to master. Here's some examples of that word.

  1. Quand j'ai commencé à jouer au foot avec mon frère, je n'étais pas très bon. Toutefois, j'entame maintenant ma cinquième année, et je dois avouer bien me débrouiller actuellement dans ce sport.
    When I started to play soccer with my brother, I wasn't very good. But now I'm starting my fifth year, and I must admit that I currently ____ in this sport.

  2. J'habite maintenant en Angleterre depuis trois ans. Mon anglais s'est passablement bien amélioré et je pense bien me débrouiller dans cette langue avec les gens que je côtoie tous les jours.
    I've been living in England for three years now. My English has improved pretty well and I think I _____ in this language with the people I deal with every day.

  3. Ma sœur joue au badminton depuis 8 ans avec sa meilleure amie. Je trouve qu'elle se débrouille très bien dans ce sport.
    My sister has played badminton 8 years with my best friend. I find that she ____ in this sport very well.

My question is:

Here are some words I think we may use in those circumstances : "to get by", "manage" and "cope". Which verb amongst them is the more common and preferable?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is answered at Word Reference, an extremely popular multiple-language or "translation" dictionary. – Alan Carmack Aug 3 '16 at 22:45
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    @AlanCarmack A question is not off-topic simply because it is answered elsewhere: Ask even if the answer exists online – ColleenV Aug 4 '16 at 3:18
  • It is a general reference question answered by a bilingual dictionary. – Alan Carmack Aug 4 '16 at 3:33
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    @AlanCarmack This question is off topic because it's asking for a translation and proofreading. Not because it is answered at Word Reference. Word Reference is the last place I'd look for help in any language. It is off topic on all S E sites. It could have been a good question for ELL if OP had asked for the differences between get by manage cope etc. not stating any French, leaving no blanks in English sentences (looks like homework, which we don't do, do we?). When the question was on ELU I suggested OP to edit it, I see the question has now been removed (as expected). – None Aug 4 '16 at 6:34
  • @AlanCarmack I looked over the Word Reference link, and I don't think it is as cut and dried as "general reference". I see a lot of related but different English phrases on the Word Reference page that don't necessarily fit all of the blanks in the examples, so I think if the question was reframed to be about a specific context, there is an answer we could write that would be more useful than what is on Word Reference site. This is probably a tomayto/tomahto discussion, but I think "general reference" closures should be looking up English words in English dictionaries. – ColleenV Aug 4 '16 at 21:46

As with most idiomatic constructions, there are several idioms to choose from depending on the context.

In your first and third examples, related to sports, a translation could be to hold one's own.


I must admit that I can currently hold my own in this sport.

I find that she can hold her own in this sport very well.

In your second example, related to language proficiency, I'd personally use I can get by.

I can get by in this language with the people I deal with every day.

Other situations might call for a different idiom. For example to underscore an achievement that wouldn't have been expected, I'd use to manage:

Elle n'a pas étudié, mais elle s'est débrouillée pour réussir ses examens quand même.

She didn't study, but she managed to pass her exams anyway.


Il s'est débrouillé pour s'enfuir.

He managed to escape.

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